13 February 2008

Another good day for free speech

Last July, a court rejected a libel case against a Danish politician who had accused some Islamic Faith Community members of treason when they travelled to the Middle East to publicize a Danish newspaper's publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.

This blog hailed it as a good day for free speech. Well today was yet another good day for free speech as the cartoon that sparked violent protests was reprinted today.

Danish Muhammad cartoon reprinted

Danish newspapers have reprinted one of several caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad which sparked violent protests across the Muslim world two years ago.

They say they wanted to show their commitment to freedom of speech after an alleged plot to kill one of the cartoonists behind the drawings.
Campaigners for freedom worldwide should rejoice at the move by the newspaper, which was emulated by national television and other newspapers also showing the cartoon. The editor's say that they will always remain defiant:
"We are doing this to document what is at stake in this case, and to unambiguously back and support the freedom of speech that we as a newspaper will always defend."
It is good to see that the over-the-top p.c. madness has not reached every newspaper in the world!

Our Chinese "masters"?

Is the West being effectively being placed under Chinese rule?

British Olympic chiefs are to force athletes to sign a contract promising not to speak out about China's appalling human rights record – or face being banned from travelling to Beijing. The move – which raises the spectre of the order given to the England football team to give a Nazi salute in Berlin in 1938 – immediately provoked a storm of protest.

The Mail on Sunday is certainly giving that impression - but surely this isn't China's doing? It's us, right? Surely China would have better sense than to appear to be gagging British athletes?
Chinese Olympic officials said yesterday they supported bans on athletes engaging in political protests ... Chinese dictators, no matter how obsessive or efficient, will be unable to stage a politics-free Games on their own. They will need help in suppressing democracy advocates, Tibetan activists, and Falun Gong adherents, and so far some Western nations seem willing to lend a hand.
Gordon Chang over at commentarymagazine.com says otherwise. China has been able to suppress it's opposition thus far becaus they have been left largely on their own. Now, though, with the eyes of the world on them, they need a little help, from us. And so it seems as though the choice is clear for our athletes: shut up or stay at home!

And here's me thinking that we lived in a Country which championed free speech!

12 February 2008

Illegal downloading

People in the UK who go online and illegally download music and films may have their internet access cut under plans the government is considering. A draft consultation Green Paper suggests internet service providers would be required to take action over users who access pirated material.
The BBC is reporting that the Government at last appears to be heading into doing something about people who illegally download material off the internet.

It is a long way from fruition, however I hope that this legislation is passed. Illegal downloading is nothing short of theft - which is illegal under both British law and God's law - and more needs to be done to stop such behaviour.

I do wonder, though, if this will be an effective deterrent. Perhaps rather cynically, I doubt it.

08 February 2008

Biofuel Emissions Undercounted

If 10,000 square metres of Brazilian rainforest is cleared to make way for soya beans – which are used to make biodiesel – over 700,000 kilograms of carbon dioxide is released. The saving generated by the resulting biodiesel will not cancel that out for around 300 years. In the case of peat land rainforest in Indonesia, which is being cleared to grow palm oil, the debt will take over 400 years to repay.
The New Scientist reports on two more studies that show again how mistaken the environmental lobby have been to campaign for more widespread use of biofuels. Somehow I doubt that will stop the madness quite yet, however...

ABC's Shari'a Row

The Archbishop of Canterbury has clearly overstepped the mark, once again, with his latest misunderstanding of the nature of Islam. However, Conservative MP Mark Pritchard is surely equally mistaken to suggest that the church should not get involved in politics.

The Bible is full of political guidance with contemporary significance on issues as diverse as education and economics, criminal justice and land reform, welfare and international relations — and, indeed, immigration and social cohesion. Rowan Williams' mistake was not his getting involved in politics, but his apparent confusion over some fundamentals of religion.

06 February 2008

Wind Power - Cui Bono?

The cost of a kilowatt hour of electricity from an onshore wind turbine, including the cost of stand-by generation, was 5.4p. The corresponding figure for an offshore turbine is a daunting 7.2p. Gas, nuclear and coal-fuelled power stations can do it for 2.2p, 2.3p and 2.5p respectively...

While the turbine owners count their profits, the consumers foot the bill via increased energy prices. When Alistair Darling recently banged the table about the 15% rise in bills of N-Power (amongst others) he kept quiet about what they said in return – that about half the increases are directly attributable to the Government's green agenda.
Following the surprise discovery that wind farms make overflying planes invisible to radar, the Spectator Coffee House had yet another interesting post on the government's favoured renewable energy source yesterday.

03 February 2008

Britain's Islamic Rule

Husbands with multiple wives have been given the go-ahead to claim extra welfare benefits following a year-long Government review, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal.

Even though bigamy is a crime in Britain, the decision by ministers means that polygamous marriages can now be recognised formally by the state, so long as the weddings took place in countries where the arrangement is legal.

The outcome will chiefly benefit Muslim men with more than one wife, as is permitted under Islamic law.
In actual fact, the latest guidelines reflect no change on the old guidelines, about which we commented last April.

The Conservatives are surely right to accuse the Government of offering preferential treatment to Muslims, and of setting a precedent that will lead to demands for further changes in British law, as we noted last year:
Presumably there are also (or soon will be) implications for things such as pension rights and exemption from death duties? Once the state recognises these, surely it is only a matter of time before "legislative creep" forces a change in the law upon us.
Like the rest of the Islamic world, our once-Christian country now has one law for Muslims and another for non-Muslims. Allāhu Akbar?